In the Old Testament, Joshua marched around Jericho and blew trumpets until the walls of the city crashed down in ruins. So too, did the teaching of Saint John Paul II cause certain walls in my life to come crumbling down. The image of the late pope shouting over the walls of the city during his visit to Poland – “You are not who they say you are!” is particularly apt. Here are some ways Theology of the Body “ruined” my life as I knew it:
5. It Ruined my Apathy, and Turned Me Into a Geek.
Dictionary definition of the word “Geek” = Someone who is overexcited about a specialized subject or activity, or talks about it with excessive enthusiasm. My old self was fairly introverted and reserved, but the message of Theology of the Body awakened my heart and helped me to love people just because of their humanity. Now, I believe that when the opportunity arrives, people need to hear the good news; (which is usually all the time…)
4. It’s Made Me Weirdly Fascinated with Simple Things.
Pre-TOB, if it wasn’t sports or family- I wasn’t interested. Now, I can’t help but notice the signature of the divine in all things. Sunrises, art, books, flowers, graffiti, bourbon whiskey, old school musicals – you name it. Just as Fraulein Maria sang – “these are a few of my favorite things.” I’ve even caught myself making the sign of the cross when driving by an art museum.
3. It’s Turned Every Woman into the Most Beautiful Woman in the World . . . Like Magic.
Some friends and I once made a weekend road trip from New Orleans to St. Louis to see the Basilica. We spent 26 hours in the car eating Steak-N-Shake and playing UNO, all to see the beauty of one church. While the beauty of the basilica was worth that drive and more, NO BUILDING can compare to the beauty of a single human woman. That’s because every living woman on this planet is an archetype of the Church! The brick and stone that build the body of a Church are synonymous to the expression of Adam when he exclaimed: “bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh,” upon first beholding the body of his bride.
2. I Realized that Sex is First a Noun and Not a Verb.
As a teenager, it was prurient curiosity which first made me grab an “Intro to Theology of the Body” CD set . . . and gosh was my world shaken. I had no idea when I played that CD that all my ideas about identity were about to change. It was as if a switch was flipped from- “NO EARTHLY CLUE ABOUT WHAT I AM” to “MAN,” (or at least, “wannabe-man-in-formation”). Learning that my mission in life is to be a sign of the Father’s love to the world, in and through my masculine body has been a game changer. Climbing over the rubble of this ruin has been one of the most joyful challenges of my life.
1. It Completely Changed my Path.
Before my conversion I was content with my walls of quitting high school and working full time. Around that time my cousin called me simply to share that he was happy after attending a seminar with Christopher West. Not long after that is when my journey began, joyfully climbing over the collapsed walls in my life.
Colby Allen resides in Lafayette, LA where his day job is marketing and custom financial reports. He also works with his diocesan youth office, and travels to wherever requested to facilitate retreats for youth and young adults. Traveling, risks, bowling, and writing are just a few of his favorite things. He is currently pursuing Certification with the Institute.